what did george rouault do
His use of stark contrasts and emotionality is credited to the influence of Vincent van Gogh. His characterizations of overemphasized grotesque personalities inspired the expressionist painters.
Georges Henri Rouault (French: [ʒɔʁʒ ʁuo] ; 27 May 1871, Paris – 13 February 1958) was a French painter, draughtsman, and print artist, whose work is often associated with Fauvism and Expressionism.
The Old King (1937).
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
A masterpiece of modern biblical art.
During the 1930s and 1940s Rouault was awarded several retrospective exhibitions in some of the world’s best art museums – notably in Washington DC and Boston. After the World War II, his vision, dark colours and religious themes were in keeping with the mood of the times, which led to him being granted a retrospective in 1945 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year he shared an exhibition with the French painter and sculptor Georges Braque (co-founder with Picasso of Cubism) at the London Tate Gallery, and in 1948 exhibited at the Venice Biennale. When he turned 80 in 1951, the Centre Catholique des Intellectuels Francais organised a party at the grand Palais de Chaillot in Paris. The French State honoured him with the title of Commander of the Legion of Honour, and when Rouault died in 1958, he received a state funeral. Like Rembrandt, Rouault had a natural affinity for biblical-style portraits, and remains one of the great exponents of modern Christian art of the 20th century.
Georges Rouault was born on May 27, 1871, in Paris. His father was a cabinet-maker, and the family had artistic interests. Between 1885 and 1890 Rouault worked as an apprentice to stained-glass painters on the restoration of medieval windows and attended evening classes at the École des Arts Décoratifs. His predilection for luminous colors and black outlines had its origin in these early experiences.
In 1908 Rouault married Marthe Le Sidaner; they had four children. His first one-man show took place in Paris in 1910. In 1911 he moved to Versailles, where the philosopher Jacques Maritain and his wife were neighbors. In 1917 Ambroise Vollard became Rouault’s dealer and set him up in a large studio in Paris. Between 1917 and 1927 Vollard commissioned illustrations for several books ( Pe‧re Ubu, The Circus, Les Fleurs du mal, Miserere, and Guerre ). Rouault developed a new and complex technique in his graphic work and worked in etching, wood engraving, and color lithography.
Georges-Henri Rouault was born in a cellar on May 27, 1871 during the tumultuous “Bloody Week” at the end of the Paris Commune. A stray shell struck the family home and the young expectant mother had to be moved into the cellar where she gave birth to her second child.
Though he joins the ranks of the major artists linked to the heroic avant-garde years Paris, Rouault cut something of a solitary figure amongst his peers. He nevertheless formed early career associations and friendships with Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, Henri Manquin and Charles Camoin and this brought him into the fold of the Fauvists with whom he exhibited at their famous 1905 exhibition at the Salon d’Automne. However, his work carried strong elements of Expressionism, which had never found much favor outside of Scandinavia and Germany. By the beginning of the First World War Rouault was turning more and more away from watercolor and oil on paper towards oil and canvas and he applied his paint through thick, rich, layers which helped amplify his raw and bold forms. His colors, awash with deep blues, contained within heavy black lines, produced art that was reminiscent of stained glass windows and supported subject matter that became more overtly religious with a strong recurring theme of the power of redemption. The majority of his career was devoted to the human figure – specifically clowns, prostitutes and Christ – but during the last decade of his life his palette allowed for pastel shades of green and yellow to impinge on canvases that placed his figures in charming mystical landscapes.
During and after World War II, he painted an impressive collection of clowns, most of them virtual self-portraits. He also executed some still lifes with flowers; these are exceptional, for three-quarters of his lifetime output is devoted to the human figure. In 1947 he sued the heirs of Vollard to recover a large number of works left in their possession after the death of the art dealer in 1939. Winning the suit, he established the right of an artist to things never offered for sale, and afterward he publicly burned 315 canvases that he felt were not representative of his best work. During the last 10 years of his life, he renewed his palette, adding greens and yellows, and painted some almost mystical landscapes: a good example is Christian Nocturne.
Rouault’s early style was academic. But around 1898 he went through a psychological crisis, and, subsequently, partly under the influence of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne, he evolved in a direction that made him, by the 1905 Paris Salon d’Automne, a fellow traveller of the Fauves (Wild Beasts), who favoured the arbitrary use of strong colour. Until the beginning of World War I, his most effective medium was watercolour or oil on paper, with dominant blues, dramatic lighting, emphatic forms, and an expressive scribble.